I was rather pleased to receive a DVD box set of the television series Game of Thrones for Fathers’ Day. I had been considering buying it myself after giving up the idea of finding a dodgy feed online that at best wouldn’t stream and at worst would give my laptop the clap. The Murdoch Death Star had been strong on this one.
“I’m surprised that you’d want to watch this,” said Lady Barton St Mary, “it doesn’t appear to be your sort of thing. You don’t like films like Lord of the Rings,” she continued, arching an exquisite eye brow.
She was right of course. I remember going to see one of the Lord of the Rings films (don’t ask me which one – something with ring in it) where a farewell scene between somebody wearing spock ears took half an hour to say goodbye to somebody else wearing a big beard and a couple of vertically challenged actors in sacks, with carrots stuck on the sides of their heads, all with names that sounded like a cross between a drug and a food additive. As Ceclor gave a long speech to Aspartame and Olestra under the snowy peaks of Ativan before setting off across the lake of Phenergan, I wanted to stand up and shout: “How long does it take to say goodbye? Bugger off!”
But for some reason, Game of Thrones seemed to appeal to a wider range of people, not just the very quiet, socially awkward ones that smelled like biscuits, so I explained that it might be worth a try.
So, the following evening, we settled down to watch the first two episodes.
The opening scenes were normal ‘fantasy world’ fodder. Lots of snow, enormous mountains, men wearing dirty old sacks covered in shit and riding horses. Then an apparent zombie attack. I sat up, suddenly interested.
Sean Bean appeared. Lady Barton St Mary sat up, suddenly interested. He was incredibly northern, saying things like ‘Y’alrait love?’ or “Aye, ‘appens I do,” like a Macclesfield Boromir.
More characters started to appear at an alarming rate. The bloke from the Tesco commercials who played dad alongside the girl from Cold Feet playing mum was playing the King.
“What was he in?” asked Lady BSM, pointing at another of the actors. He did look familiar. What was he in?
Before I could give it any great thought, the first of many naked women started to appear on screen. This seemed to happen at regular intervals until Lady BSM mentioned the ‘excessive boobage’. Is boobage a word?
The next scene was in another part of the land. I think. A girl with pale skin and long blonde hair who had a passing resemblance to Marfa, my niece, was being intimidated by her brother, a character in a long dress and a Jimmy Savile wig. They were being advised by the bloke out of Downton Abbey who was also in The Thick of It; he was wearing a long beard and a Demis Roussos kaftan.
As you can see, my butterfly brain had already kicked in. I’d been introduced to The Nightwatch, The Northern bit I’ve forgotten (Wanfell? Weefall? Waffle?) and King’s Landing. Two of them were cold and one looked like a medieval version of Disneyland in the Med. Why they didn’t all live there, I don’t know.
And there was a dwarf. Am I allowed to say dwarf?
It took all of half an hour before I began questioning Lady BSM.
“What’s going on? Who are they? When did he get there?”
Lady BSM did her best to get me up to speed. I tried my best to show her I understood.
“Being Human!” I blurted.
Lady BSM looked at me askance. The beautiful eyebrow arched once more.
“That bald man in the grey robes. He was in ‘Being Human’,” I explained.
Then the girl who looked a bit like Marfa was being forced to marry a man who looked like Ming the Merciless without a nose hair trimmer. He didn’t look very happy about getting married, either. The wedding was a bit rough; after watching two gym monkeys in leather nappies fight until one of them disembowelled the other, a bloke who had been in Spooks said it was usual for the tribe – the Gahh! Thrah! I think they were called, or some such name that sounds like somebody choking on a fish bone – to have at least one fight to the death during the wedding ceremony. We’ve all been to weddings like that, I guess.
The boobage became even more excessive. There followed a scene with the hairy Ming the Merciless consummating his marriage with the petite blonde sister of Jimmy Savile.
“Do you think that was the normal position in medieval times?” enquired Lady BSM casually, “perhaps it was, until the missionaries came along,” she mused.
It took me a while to answer, since I was purging any thoughts that this poor young girl resembled my dear niece in any way before giving my considered answer.
“I think you may be right, my lovely,” was all I could manage.
Considering this question at my leisure later on in the evening, I concluded that this almost certainly would have been the preferred sexual position during medieval times. Have you seen what medieval people look like? They’d fail the audition for The Jeremy Kyle Show for being too ugly. Plus the fact, they hardly ever bathed in medieval times. Toothbrushes hadn’t been invented, let alone toothpaste. The stench would have been bad enough; if you had sex face to face I would imagine all your hair would have fallen out from the halitosis.
“Why’s Sharpe in King’s Stanley? Where’s his wife? Which one’s the bastard? What’s going on?” I pleaded, not long after, “I thought he left her behind and took his sons, the ones in armless biker jackets with wispy beards,” I continued.
Lady BSM looked at me levelly.
“Listen. I’ve seen as much of this as you have. So I don’t have all the answers. However, he’s called Ned, not Sharpe and it’s King’s Landing. King’s Stanley is a village in Gloucestershire.”
She returned to watching Sean Bean, smiling serenely to herself. I tried my best to keep up, images appearing in front of me of men from mobile phone adverts wearing old curtains and red haired, bare chested girls.
The closing credits made us both make a cry of surprise upon seeing the name Wilco Johnson appear in the cast list. Is this a common name, or did the famous Dr Feelgood guitarist have a small part in Game of Thrones? I’m sure somebody out there has the answer.
We’re now up to episode 4 and we’re enjoying it immensely, Lady BSM more than me, if truth be told. Maybe all that blood, guts and sex comes naturally to the aristocracy.
I just wish I could remember who they all were. And what they’re doing. And why. I now know that Sean Bean isn’t Sharpe, he’s Ned Flanders; the man from Tesco is not as nice as I thought and ravens are good for sending messages, which they always deliver, rather than a card saying ‘Your raven called whilst you were out, please call at the undelivered raven message depot 2 days’ ride north of Cillit Bang to collect…’
Other than that, I haven’t a clue what’s going on.